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Barbara Stock - A Profile

by Dale Pierce

October 2005

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Barbara Stock, a dark-haired beauty from Illinois, was born in 1956 and spent many years within the confines of television as opposed to the big screen. She remains perhaps one of the most underrated actresses of modern times.

Stock would best be recalled for her work in the television series, Port Charles, during the 1990s. She did, however, have other TV roles at various intervals in Seinfeld, Twilight Zone, Touched By An Angel and more. She likewise appeared in a number of TV movies, one of which merits her article here.

In 1982, Stock appeared in a TV movie called I, Desire, about a vampire in modern times. If she, herself, remains one of the most under-estimated actresses in TV history, this film likewise might rank as one of the best, but also most ignored of horror classics.

David Naughton (The Sleeping Car, American Werewolf In London, etc...), plays a young man who believes a series of killings are being done by a vampire. Police, however, headed by Darian Harewood, believe the murderer is a psycho woman, posing as a prostitute and killing her johns. All this time, Stock's vampire is masquerading as a hospital worker named Mona, where she conveniently steals blood when she cannot find a suitable pickup on the streets. Naughton goes after her and is joined by a defrocked priest, played by Brad Dourif (best known as the voice of Chuckie in the Child's Play series)

Stock's performance remains chillingly sensual,  making her a cross between a bloodsucker and one of the sirens from Greek myths. Her power lies not within herself, but for an interesting twist, in the evil within her victims. Those she kills on the streets have predominately been married men, cheating on their wives. Thus, falling prey to their own lust and folly, they end up punished for their sins at the fangs of Desire, the vampire's real name.

The scene where Stock attempts to seduce Naughton before biting him ranks among one of the best and again overlooked in the whole of horror film. Luring him to her massive lair, she goes to slip into something a little  more comfortable,  as her soon-to-be target awaits. The lights go dim, one of the creepiest scores ever starts to play and Desire appears at the top of the staircase, slowly walking, perhaps even gliding downward. Shots of the heads of victim and potential killer merge, creating a sequence Argento could have done no better (John Moxley directed this movie).

Will Desire win out ? Of course she will. For once in a movie made for TV, you're going to have a sad ending. And who could ever resist Stock, as shown on the staircase? No straight person at least, right?

Well,  fortunately for the world, Naughton's character shows amazing resistance, announcing he does not lust for this embodiment of evil and claims righteousness rather than a stake as his defense. In an especially unanticipated ending, there is no cross, no holy water and no sunlight to destroy this evil bitch. She simply lunges for him, but having lost her magic powers, sails off a balcony and falls to her demise.

This film ranks among the very best, in this writer's opinion, as far as vampireflicks go, be they for big or small screen. In this short article Barbara Stock finally gets a little credit for a tremendous and creepy role that has otherwise been denied her.

Should the film ever run again on TV someplace, be sure to check it out and if you are a male viewer who really wants to test his character, ask this simple question, "What would I have done," had you been at the bottom of the staircase when Desire made her descent.

 

© by Dale Pierce


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD